Saturday, September 21, 2013

What She Did, Mattered

A scene has been playing over and over and over in my mind since it happened. I mentioned it in a blog post about Ruby's time at summer camp. It was about going to pick Ruby up at the camp, going down the ramp and into the building. It was about waiting, tucked off to the side, for Ruby to come. It was about a group of boys gathering, staring at me, whispering and laughing. It was about a security guard noticing and coming over to the boys, speaking quietly to them, and dispersing them leaving me, mercifully, alone.

I've thought about this.

And thought about this.

And thought about this.

It was only, when asked to tell the story, when I spoke it out loud, heard the story firstly and freshly told, that I understood. No one had ever, ever, considered MY SECURITY important enough to intervene.

No one.

The security guard was a young black woman, it took her only seconds to size up the situation, recognise it as one where intervention was necessary before she took action. She didn't do it in a showy way, she didn't do it in a way that would overtly draw negative attention to the boys, she just did what she did for the security of MY PERSON.

After it was over she simply went back to her post and continued on with her shift.

I have been in museums, we're members of three. I have been in malls and in movie theatres and pretty much every where where people gather. There are always those there whose job it is to make sure that people and places are safe. But none have ever before considered my safety or my security. Trust me, this isn't the first time where a little bruising of bullies has stared and pointed and laughed and shouted remarks. But no one has ever seen that as a call for some action.

She did.

This remarkable woman did something.

In much of the discussion about bullying people talk about motivating good people to take action, to speak up, to side with the target of the social violence. I have always liked the idea but wondered if it would ever happen.

Well it did.

And it mattered.

So do it.


Jayne Wales said...

Excellent. I just love people who just know what to do right in their job. If you are going to be in security, police, army, nursing in A and E, fire fighter, soldier, I just love it when you can take control and make it safe for everyone. It feel good to be looked after sometimes in a strong and simple way.

Kris S. said...

Loved this story the first and second times. Also love "a bruising of bullies." You will always get big points for clever names for groups from me. Happy Weekend, Dave.

Tamara said...

Amen. The more people do it, the more people will do it and the less bullying there will be in the world.

I've never understood why so many people consider bullying just a part of life. It doesn't have to be.

clairesmum said...

A bruising of bullies.....excellent phrase that gives a clearer description of the damage that occurs when "word hurt."
I wonder if this security guard might have had the experience of feeling unsafe in a public place merely due to her physical being...your description suggests that she may be seen as belonging to two minority groups...take care, Dave and Joe.

Anonymous said...

I know writer's are creative - but I think a little too much creativity has been expressed in this one. No one. No one at all. Not Joe. Or the fellow that told the woman to get out of your wheelchair. Or the person making sure that you know safe exits from an auditorium. Family, friends, church members. Absolutely no one. Hmmmm...Perhaps "very seldom" you have witnessed it or "on few occasions" - but no one. Ok.

Purpletta said...

I don't know, anon at 00:41. I read this blog & comments very early this morning & for some reason your comment has stuck with me. I have trouble sometimes teasing out differences of opinion that are positive and productive and those that are not. But after much thought I am now in a place where I need to reply. Your comment has a tone that I read as sarcasm. I may be mis-reading this and you may have intended it to be humorous and not sarcastic so if that is the case I apologize. This blog it seems is about bullying. Well about the difference one person made in her handling of bullying. Ensuring someone's safety. I certainly can't speak for Dave's experiences, only for my own, but it seems to me that an employee in a theatre telling paying patrons how to evacuate in an emergency is actually the person's job. Done nicely, with extra effort, in the most supportive way is kind and professional. A person doing his job professionally making patrons aware of information they need. Someone standing up to a person sitting in someone else's chair - well certainly seems to be intended as kindness, although if that help was not needed by the owner of the chair it raises a different issue. But if we accept for argument's sake the kind gesture, it is I guess correcting a member of the public who is rude. And so on... All presumably kind gestures of support in many cases ---- but not about securing someone's safety from bullying. This is an entity all to itself. Being on the receiving end of bullying is terrifying. It is demeaning and embarrassing. It is stigmatizing. But it differs from say the fear of how to evacuate in a fire in that bullying is intentional disregard for one's person followed by deliberate hurt and harm, some of which nearly always will be irreperable. To equate it to the theatre example it would be like someone intentionally setting a fire near me in a theatre, then blocking the exit or joking about blocking he exit. Bullying is a situation all to itself. I worry that sometimes comments on blogs like those on Dave's sometimes may be in the verge of bullying. To me bullying is about tearing someone down. It is hurting in order to do damage to one's person. I am concerned that even here sometime comment can be intended to tear down and I have to say something about that.

Anonymous said...

I was bulied while working walmart

Anonymous said...

Purpletta..and a security agent is providing security. A job just like the safety person. A job.

Anonymous said...

Anon above, yes a security guard has the job of security. What strikes me about Dave's story is that the security guard recognized that what the boys were doing was a threat to Dave's security. I have often seen security guards simply stand by when something like that happens. The woman in this story seemed to understand that a person's security is as important as a buildings security. May I ask, though, why your comments always seem so angry? Am I misreading you?